Who Except Rafael Nadal Has Defended Their French Open Titles?

Published 05/29/2021, 8:50 AM CDT
Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates with the trophy after winning the French Open final against Serbia’s Novak Djokovic REUTERS/Charles Platiau


Thirteen-time French Open champion, Rafael Nadal has been the most successful player in the tournament’s history. Out of those 13 titles, Nadal has defended his crown a whopping ten times, which is a testament to his sheer dominance at the French Open.

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The Spaniard has defended his French Open title from 2006 to 2008, 2011 to 2014, and 2018 to 2020. If he lifts the trophy at the upcoming 2021 French Open, it would be the 11th time he would successfully defend his title.

Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates after winning championship point during his Men’s Singles Final against Novak Djokovic of Serbia on day fifteen of the 2020 French Open at Roland Garros in Paris, France. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Apart from Nadal, a handful of players have defended their crown at the Stade Roland Garros in Paris. Since the inception of the Open Era in 1968, just seven male players have defended their French Open title.

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List of players who have defended their French Open title apart from Rafael Nadal

First up comes the former tennis star from Czechoslovakia, Jan Kodes. After winning his maiden French Open trophy in 1970, Kodes successfully defended his title the following year.

Moving chronologically, the next player on the list is one of the greatest clay-court players of all time, Bjorn Borg. A six-time French Open champion, Borg defend his title an impressive four times.

Borg’s first successful title defense at the French Open came in 1975. Subsequently, the legendary Swede defended his title successively for three years from 1979 to 1981.

Up next, is the three-time Roland Garros champion (1984, 1986, 1987), Ivan Lendl. In 1987, Lendl successfully defended his title French Open title after defeating Mats Wilander in a thrilling final.

Coming to the ’90s, American tennis player, Jim Courier, and Sergi Bruguera, each won two consecutive French Open titles. Thus, Courier defended his title in 1992 while Bruguera in 1994.

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Next in line is the Brazilian star and former World No.1, Gustavo Kuerten, who features at the sixth spot on the list. Kuerten successfully defended his French Open title in 2001, which also marked his third trophy at the prestigious Grand Slam.

Since then, no player except Rafael Nadal has defended their crown at the French Open. The Spaniard has lost just twice at the French Open since his debut in 2005.

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Nadal’s endurance, impeccable movement, and ability to grind his opponent from the baseline have created an aura of invincibility around him and turned him into an impenetrable wall at the French Open.

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Kshitij Tayal

395 articles

Kshitij Tayal is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having played district-level tennis competitions, Kshitij is also a tenured journalist of the sport with over four years of experience. At EssentiallySports, he pens down some thought-provoking pieces on players and tournaments across the ATP and WTA.

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